Olivia Jalbert of Edward Little High School will throw the javelin and the discus at Saturday’s Class A outdoor state track meet at Lewiston High School. She will also compete in the high jump. Sun Journal photo by Daryn Slover

Last year, Olivia Jalbert competed in the high jump, javelin, discus and triple jump.

While many track athletes compete in four events every meet, this particular foursome proved difficult for the Edward Little junior. She would have to compete in the high jump and javelin at the same time, then discus and triple jump.

Running from corner to corner of the meet got to be too much and prevented her from excelling in the events, so the triple jump was erased from the to-do list this season.

The move has paid off.

Jalbert has broken her personal record in the javelin by more than 2 feet and took second place at Saturday’s KVAC championship with a throw of 112-01.

She also won the high jump, clearing 5 feet before her EL teammate Brooklyn Alexander.

Jalbert had been stuck at 5-0 since her freshman year, and even though she didn’t best it at KVACs, she jumped 5-2 the week prior at the River City Rivals track meet against Lewiston, Bangor and Brewer.

“This year we cut me down to three events instead of four,” Jalbert said. “I would normally long jump or triple jump but we cut me down so I can focus on the high jump, javelin and discus. It has been very beneficial. I have noticed a lot of improvements because in practice I’m not running around everywhere, I can just focus on my main events.”

Edward Little coach Rebecca Hefty knew the change was for the best. Hefty also had Jalbert practice in a new group this spring to help spring forward her progress.

“One of the things we did differently this year with Oliva is we moved her to the sprint group because I felt like she needed to get some more power and strength this season because of all the events she’s in — and they do, believe it or not, even though she’s throwing and jumping, they require a lot of speed strength,” Hefty said. “So that’s what we did this year to make things different for her, and she’s hit personal bests in three events this year … She loves the triple but I just said, ‘We need to see higher success,’ because it’s time for her to have higher success, first in KVACs and then hopefully in the state meet.”

Part of Jalbert’s success in the high jump this season has been the daily competition in practice from Alexander, a freshman.

“We knew Brooklyn was going to come in and be great,” Edward Little assistant coach Angie Jalbert, Olivia’s mother, said. “She did summer track and middle school track and was great.

“Olivia has kind of been alone for a couple years as the only girl, so she was psyched we were going to have a girl jumping in. We knew Brooklyn was going to be a strong competitor.”

Olivia has been competing in track and field since she was 7, starting with the Auburn Rec summer track program, and her mother has been her coach throughout. So the Jalberts knew of Alexander’s potential and were excited for her to join the high school team.

“I try and help out with some of the freshman, like Brooklyn,” Olivia Jalbert said. “I make sure that she is warming up at meets and stuff because she is still kind of new. At practice I’ve never really had someone to push me, so it’s nice having that. It’s just kind of like we help each other and hope for the best.”

Also beneficial is being coached by her mom, who mostly works with Olivia in the high jump.

“It’s helpful because I know she knows a lot,” Olivia Jalbert said. “She’s our high jump coach and I know that she knows what she is doing and I use the information that she gets me. Sticking with a coach for a very long time, even just in general, you get good relationships.”

In the javelin, Jalbert has been pleased with her progress. Being in the same conference and classification as two-time state champion Jadah Adams of Oxford Hills is a challenge, but Jalbert finished only 5 feet, 10 inches behind Adams at KVACs.

“I PRd in javelin by 2 feet and took second place in KVACs,” Jalbert said. “I was really happy with that. It was really intimidating but I used it as motivation to push myself to try to reach for my goal of beating her.”

Heading into the state meet, Jalbert wants to finish in the top five in both the javelin and high jump, in which she’s ranked fifth and third, respectively.

Hefty said that the state meet is where athletes need to perform their best, and she is expecting Jalbert to just that.

“Going into the state (high jump) is very competitive at 5-2,” Hefty said. “(Alexander and Jalbert) are both very capable of 5-2, and maybe even greater, so we’ll see. It’ll be exciting to see what they do in the high jump. In the javelin she’ll have to thrown significant PRs to run with the big dogs in the top six, which she is super capable of doing.

“Olivia knows what is going on but she dials in because she has to be in so many places, she has to be organized, she has to be committed to each event.”

 


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